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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Around Tirupati - Kanipakkam

The temple of Varasiddhi Vinayaka at Kanipakkam is one I have seen grow over the last few years I have been there. When I visited the temple this time, I found myself wishing that I had taken photos of the temple on my earlier visits (which, incidentally were before I began blogging!), for this time I was advised to leave the camera in the vehicle itself!


Image from the internet

The legend of the temple relates to three brothers, of whom, one was deaf, one was dumb and one was blind. They tilled their land together and made a living. When their well dried up, they dug another well, but were stumped when they were unable to dig further than a particular level. When they tried harder, the iron spade hit a stone which began to ooze out blood! The minute the blood oozed out, the brothers lost their deformities, and were stunned to see the sight! The villagers were amazed, and attempted to deepen the well further to see the origin of the blood. Finally, from the waters emerged an idol of Lord Ganesha, who is named ‘Varasiddhi Vinayaka’ because he makes wishes come true.

Image from the Internet

For many years, only a portion of the idol was visible, and all attempts to dig further were useless. However, over the years, more and more of the idol is being seen, something which is proved by the fact that the original kavacham (mask) for the idol no longer fits it! Some portion of the idol is still in the well, though, and water can be seen in the main sanctum even now!

When I first visited the temple, we were among the few pilgrims there, and the priest happily showed us the water swirling around the idol. The old kavacham was displayed outside the sanctum and it was quite apparent that the idol had grown. On this trip (almost 5 to 6 years after my first visit), there were a lot more changes – the temple was much bigger than I remembered it to be; the queues were much, much longer, there was a special darshan ticket for Rs.100; there were not one, but two smaller kavachams outside, now displayed proudly in a glass case; and there was much less water in the sanctum, which was rather surprising considering that it was pouring heavily outside and the whole temple was wet and slippery! So much for popularity and improvement!!!!

While I cannot help saying that I wish the temple had not changed so much, I do realize that changes are inevitable, especially as more and more people become aware of the place. But I shall always remember it as the temple I saw it first – unknown but remarkable!!

Information:

Kanipakkam is 75 Km from Tirupati and 165 Km from Chennai.
APSRTC runs daily buses between Tirupati and Kanipakkam.

Kanipakkam Temple Website: http://www.kanipakamvinayaka.org/
The temple website is comprehensive, with lots of details about the temple, as well as information about accommodation and seva activities.

Temple Timings: 04:00 AM to 9:30 PM

Comments

  1. Iinteresting.....about the idol of Ganesha.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very beautiful temple... Yes the security keeps on increasing day by day...

    ReplyDelete
  3. thnaks for introducing this place .........

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Haddock: Oh yes... the idol is what interested me first about the place...

    @Arti: thats the problem everywhere... cant recognise half the places thanks to all the new security arrangements

    @Team G square: hope u can visit sometime...

    ReplyDelete

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